Decatur Ranks as “Best Place to Live” in Georgia; Ranks 79th in Nation


You may have seen recently in local media that Decatur ranked as the #1 suburb in Georgia, based on Niche’s annual “Best Place’s to Live” ranker.

Pretty cool, but I don’t think it’s too much as a surprise to many.  Decatur often does well in these sorts of place rankers.  Especially when just looking within the state.

But Niche’s “Best Places To Live” ranks go much broader.  And I haven’t yet seeing anyone else mention that not only is Decatur ranked the #1 Suburb, but it’s hands down ranked as the #1 “Place to Live” in Georgia.  AND overall it ranked as the 79th best place to live in all of America.

So, yes.  Limiting Decatur’s performance to “Best Suburb in Georgia” is a bit of unnecessary over-qualification.

FYI – Decatur scored A’s and A+’s in the following categories: Education, Public Schools, Diversity, Health & Fitness, Nightlife, Shortest Commute and Family Amenities in Niche’s ranker.  It got B’s or B+’s in: Outdoor Activities, Jobs, and Weather.  It got a B- for Crime & Safety and it scored Cs for Cost of Living and Real Estate.

Photo courtesy of Al

11 thoughts on “Decatur Ranks as “Best Place to Live” in Georgia; Ranks 79th in Nation”

  1. Thanks Nick. . This is great news for those who want to see more of what’s listed in your report but for the few of us who treasure Decatur for what’s NOT listed, it’s sad. I see nothing about our great churches. And even though we do not have a synogogue, our Jewish residents have plenty of choices nearby. Our REAL history, not just a “sense” of history, is also left off the list. Decatur is as historic a town as any other community in North Georgia and maybe more so. If we lose our churches and connection to the past then we really are just a suburb.
    A city commissioner and I had a similar conversation a few days ago. I told him that the commission needs to support activities that connect newcomers to our past, specifically the Memorial Day “Flags and Flowers” in the cemetery and a 9/11 ceremony at the high school but also protecting the historical monuments that were so important to many of our past citizens.
    Enjoy the ranking Decatur but remember what’s been important in the past. That kind of character will get us through the tough times ahead, and it’s coming.

    1. Though I don’t live in Decatur anymore, I have great affection for it and frequently tell people what a great place it is, especially for families. I often do tell them about the Decatur past I know (having lived in unincorporated Decatur as a child and teenager in the 70s and most of the 80s). They are usually amazed that the city was relatively recently an undesirable place to live. That in parts of Decatur, whites fled to the actual suburbs after blacks began to integrate the schools, parks, etc. That a major reason for the turnaround in Decatur was its significant lesbian population. (I have similar conversations about the Midtown area I live in with people who assume it was always how it is now). This is all fairly recent past, and I’m guessing not what you’re talking about. Though I agree it’s worthwhile for people to know something about the history of the place they choose to live, it’s also useful to keep in mind that many people move to Decatur and Atlanta (and the South in general) despite the history, not because of it.

      1. I don’t disagree with your comment brianc concerning lesbians but I feel another factor was about 12 years ago when the school districts were redrawn.

        1. The turnaround started before the redistricting. Young families who couldn’t afford more expensive parts of intown were moving into Decatur, especially Oakhurst. They were among those warning that redistricting should not be conflated with school closing because there was a huge group of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers heading towards kindergarten. Unfortunately, others firmly believed that the school population would decline, not rise, because that was what the trend had been. IMHO, the realization that Oakhurst Elementary was a neighborhood gem with a fantastic principal would have occurred no matter what. Gentrification and school population growth, for better or for worse, was inevitable.

        2. No doubt, Dave, though Decatur had already turned the corner by that time. One point I was trying to make, which I wasn’t explicit about, is that most people have some knowledge of the history of Atlanta and environs–the general schoolbook stuff, the Civil War, Civil Rights movement, etc. What newcomers are less likely to know about is the recent history of a place, stuff that happened 20-30 years ago. This is partly because few of the people in Decatur (or the Midtown area I live in) are from Atlanta.

  2. Fortunately or unfortunately, my job(s) have had me travel all over the US. Without exaggeration, I’ve been to most of the cities on this list. I have found very few places that stack up better than Decatur .

    It truly is a great place to call home!

  3. Other than Virginia, there’s not another place in the South in the top 100. NC, SC, AL, MS, LA,TN, KY. All shut out.

  4. Not that it matters, but I think Decatur is officially 80th since they have two #79s and the number after Decatur is #81

    1. The “Real Estate” category is kind of squirrelly. It covers affordability, where our rating is surely low, but also prices and ownership rates where our rating (if being viewed from the perspective of homeowners) is presumably strong. I wonder how different aspects of the category are rated.

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